Jesus said, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the father except through me."
Life is pretty amazing when you think about it. No matter where you are in life, if you sit down and look back at your past you might wonder how on earth your still alive. At least that's how it is for me, and possibly for you. I think back to all the trouble I got into, all the close calls, car accidents, fights etc. and think WOW, somehow I made it through all of that? Crazy! I never ended up in jail but most of my friends did, some of whom are now serving time in prison. I never got into heavy drugs, but again most of my friends did. A lot of those guys are either dead, in prison or still heavy into drugs. By the time I was 21 years old, I had been to lots of funerals. Although I didn't get into drugs I did however drink a lot of alcohol, smoked pot on occasion and spent a lot of time in bars, strip clubs and at parties, bouncing from one house to the next. I used to drink and drive and not think twice about it, when your young you think your invincible. Because I was always drinking (with a blood/alcohol level over the limit), I kept my ashtray full of mints, after all I didn't smoke so that was a convenient place to keep them. Thinking back now, not only was that a poor choice because of safety and because I was breaking the law, it's also pretty ridiculous that I thought those mints would actually help me not get a DUI, amazing.
You might be asking yourself, "why is this guy telling me this?" Well, before we go any further I'll answer that question: First off, I'm telling you this so that you know that NOBODY is perfect, we all have our flaws. Second, It's important to paint the whole picture of who I was before I can tell you who I am today. Ok, back to my story.
So I drank too much alcohol, got into fights, etc. I was a very selfish person, and believed what I was told, "look out for number one, you deserve it" or "you gotta take care of yourself first." Anyway, being the selfish person that I was I made a lot of bad decisions that benefited me but usually hurt someone else. I made bad business decisions, usually for financial gain because "It was all about me,"...what a joke. Back in those days, my world revolved around money and I wanted as much of it as I could get. I hurt a lot of people in my life and because of that, I carried all those burdens with me for years. I thought I was unforgivable and that I had to keep all that hurt inside me forever, but that all changed. I learned about forgiveness, true forgiveness. This true forgiveness is much more powerful then hearing someone tell you "I forgive you".
So your probably wondering, what is true forgiveness? Well, before we get into that subject I want to tell you how I came to find this true forgiveness. It was in July 2009, I had been laid off from a job several months earlier and therefore had a lot of "soul searching" time. I knew something was missing in my life but I had no idea what that something was. My wife, who was raised Catholic had decided to check out a non denominational Church, probably in an effort to get me to tag along with her. Now I'm not trying to knock the Catholic church here but as far as I was concerned, that was not for me. I had been to Mass out of family obligation on Christmas and Easter and I can't think of any other time in my life feeling more un-comfortable then how I felt in that church. Knowing how being in church made me feel, there was no way I was going to go on my own regularly. Besides, it would cut into my fishing time and I couldn't have that. When my wife went to check out this "different church" I supported her but wanted no part of it myself. When she got home she was all pumped up about it and told me "It was really up beat and they had good music, everyone was nice" then she said what she knew I needed to hear "It was nothing like a Catholic Mass". With extreme hesitation, I agreed to check it out the following week.
Now I don't know about you but I hate being wrong. I always thought that Church just wasn't for me, that only "Religious People" went to Church and that you had to be a "Good Person" to go to Church. With those pre-conceived notions I have a confession to make: I WAS WRONG! That Church was and is upbeat, friendly, and welcoming. The Pastors all deliver messages in simple, easy to understand language that anyone can grasp. In that Church, I have learned "That ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God", I have also learned about true forgiveness. I have learned about Jesus Christ and what he did for you and me. I have learned that Jesus Christ CHOSE the cross, died for your sins and mine and then conquered death when he rose from the dead 3 days later. That's right, I said Jesus CHOSE the cross. He took all the punishment for the whole world so that your sins and mine, past, present and future are forgiven. Think about that for a minute, how does that make you feel?
I'll tell you how it makes me feel, it makes me feel the need to share that message with the world. It makes me feel so strongly about it that I'm willing to share with the whole world the fact that I was a dirt bag prior to finding Jesus Christ. If you don't know Jesus, ponder this for a minute....my life has been so deeply impacted from my personal relationship with my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ that I am willing to publicly dedicate my business to Him while my competitors are plugging away with "business as usual". Now I'm not knocking my competition, I'm just pointing out to you that I feel so strongly about my faith that I am willing to risk losing business over it. It's that important to me. You know what the best part is? This gift of Eternal Life and True Forgiveness is FREE.
Our debts are paid, all you have to do is
repent from your sinful lifestyle and put your faith in Jesus. Romans 10:9-10 says "That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus
is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you
will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and
it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved". To be clear, saying "Jesus is Lord" is more then just saying those words, it is an act of repentance. It is to say that YOU and I are no longer Lord of our lives, He is.
There is no such thing as a perfect person, we all have our flaws (especially me). God does not sit up in Heaven keeping score of our good and bad deeds in order to determine who gets to go to Heaven. If he did keep score, Heaven would be empty because there is no way we can EARN our way into Heaven, as stated in Romans 3:23; "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."
The fact is, every person is born a sinner (including me) and separated from God until repenting from sin and receiving God's gift of eternal life by trusting in Jesus Christ alone as Savior and Lord. (Please understand that born again, spirit filled Christians are no longer sinners, we are Saints even though we can still sin). This salvation with its forgiveness of sins gives us a new nature as described in 2 Corinthians 5:17; "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!". It is entirely apart from good works, baptism, church membership -- or man's effort -- and is of grace alone. Ephesians 2:8-9 says "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God- not by works, so that no one can boast."
Today we find ourselves in a culture that looks down on Christianity and does not want "Religion" forced upon them. First off, I want to tell you that we are not Religious people, we are however Believers and followers of Jesus Christ. We are Christians, and there is a difference between Religion, and Bible based Christianity. In fact, it was Religious people that Crucified Jesus. Why is it that people will go to great lengths to read books about how the Bible is "wrong", watch video's on You Tube, listen to the biased media, etc. I have an idea...HOW ABOUT READ THE BIBLE ITSELF?? The fact is, you can only answer Scripture with Scripture. Anything, when taken out of context can be proven false, but look at the whole picture and I think you'll be amazed at how accurate (Historically and Ethically) the Bible is and just how relevant it is for our daily lives. It's mind boggling to see that no matter how crazy things may get, the Bible is still relevant today, tomorrow and forever.
The Bible is not one book, it actually contains 66 books, written over a period of 1500 years, on 3 continents, by 40 authors and in 3 languages. The amazing thing is, it flows from Genesis to Revelation with a consistent message, Jesus. The Bible truly is God's Word. Don't take it from me though, pick it up and read it yourself, it will transform your life like it did mine.
Thank you and God Bless.
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